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10 Cyber Security Travel Tips for a Safe and Relaxing Holiday

The last thing anyone wants to do when on holiday or travelling is have any worries. Holidays are a time to relax. Unfortunately, with the ever-increasing number of cyber-attacks, you cannot afford to relax when it comes to cyber security.

Whether you’re connecting to your local bar Wi-Fi to act as the resident DJ or your favourite holiday café Wi-Fi, how can you be sure the networks are safe?

Do you need to work whilst travelling? Do you know if the local co-working space Wi-Fi is a rouge network?

In this post, we’ll cover essential cyber security travel tips to avoid becoming a victim of cyber crime on your holiday or travels.

10 cyber security tips for staying safe on Holiday

  1. Update Your Devices and Software Regularly  

One of the fundamental steps in maintaining cybersecurity is keeping your devices and software up to date. Regularly installing updates ensures you have the latest security patches and bug fixes, strengthening your defence against potential vulnerabilities. These updates often address critical security flaws that hackers exploit, so skipping them leaves your devices vulnerable. Whether you’re using the latest iPad or a Windows 10 laptop, make sure all your devices are up-to-date regularly.

  1. Utilise Strong and Unique Passwords 

A strong and complex password is the most basic defence against cyber-attacks. Avoid using easily guessable information such as “password123” or your pet’s name. A good practice is to use a passphrase—a string of 3 random words only you would know. Excellence IT recommends using unique passwords for each of your accounts. Consider storing your passwords in a reputable password manager to simplify copying and pasting your log-ins.

  1. Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) 

Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security by requiring an additional verification step, such as a fingerprint scan or a unique code sent to your mobile device. It is the most efficient method of keeping your details safe. Two-factor authentication is one last barrier if a criminal has guessed your password and email address. Enable 2FA whenever possible to enhance the security of your accounts and prevent unauthorised access. 

  1. Secure Internet Connection 

When travelling, be cautious about the networks you connect to. Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks, which are often unsecured and vulnerable to attacks. If you must use public Wi-Fi, ensure it’s a legitimate network by asking staff for the exact name and password.

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is essential for creating a secure connection to another network over the Internet. It masks your IP address and encrypts your data, making it difficult for hackers to intercept your information. Public Wi-Fi networks are notorious hotspots for cybercriminals. Proceed with caution and consider using your mobile data or a personal hotspot for secure internet access.

How can I tell if a public Wi-Fi network is safe? 

Internet Security 

The first way to identify an unsafe network is by ensuring a secure lock icon next to the Wi-Fi connection. In the image below, we have shown an example of a safe and an unsecured network. Internet connection 1 has no secure lock, whilst Internet connection 2 does.  

Cyber Security Tips: Avoid Unsafe Networks
Cyber Security Tips: Avoid Unsafe Networks

Dangerous Networks 

In 2024, it’s harder to find businesses that don’t offer free public Wi-Fi to their guests. Whilst connecting to a public network can be tempting, especially if the signal is poor or you lack mobile data, please be careful.  

The image below shows Starbucks as a highly popular place for dangerous networks. Many networks are often named FREE Wi-Fi, and we almost assume straight away this is a free, secure network for customers. 

Cyber Security Tips: Dangerous Networks
Cyber Security Tips: Dangerous Networks
Image by: TunnelBear

Cybercriminals can set up their own network, with sometimes even stronger internet connections than the official network. Connecting to a dangerous network will leave you vulnerable to having your data tracked and potentially sent to phishing websites that aim to steal your credentials.  

To avoid connecting to the wrong network, it’s always worth checking with the staff of the location you want to connect to Wi-Fi for the correct details. We’d also recommend ensuring staff are aware of any potentially dangerous networks. 

  1. Disable Automatic Connectivity Features 

Disable automatic connectivity features on your devices, such as Wi-Fi auto-connect and Bluetooth pairing. While convenient, these features can connect your device to untrusted networks or devices without your knowledge, exposing you to security risks. Manually select networks and devices to connect, ensuring you control your connections.

  1. Secure Your Devices 

Do not leave devices unattended. Locking devices in a safe or a locker at the destination is the minimum when you’re on holiday or travelling. Even in seemingly secure places like hotel rooms, your devices are vulnerable. Use hotel safes where available, and consider carrying a portable lock for additional security. Leaving devices alone in public places is quite an obvious tip, but leaving your devices in plain sight in your hotel room is a bad idea, too. Believe it or not, this cyber security travel tip surprises many people.

  1. Be Wary of Phishing Attempts 

Phishing attacks are prevalent and can be highly deceptive. Common signs of phishing emails include unexpected requests for personal information, spelling and grammar errors, and suspicious links or attachments. Use a spam filter to catch these emails, and always verify the sender’s address before responding or clicking on any links. Be cautious when clicking on links or providing personal information, especially in emails or messages from unknown sources. Double-check the legitimacy of the sender and website before sharing any sensitive data. We recommend reading our blog on email phishing scams.

  1. Use Secure Payment Methods 

Cyber security travel tip #8 is vital. When purchasing online while on holiday or travelling, use secure payment methods such as a credit card. Credit cards offer more fraud protection than debit cards. You can also use virtual credit cards, which generate a temporary number for each transaction, adding an extra layer of security. Avoid entering sensitive financial information on websites you’ve never used, and ensure you’re not connected to a rogue Wi-Fi network when doing so.

  1. Backup Your Data Regularly 

The last cyber security issue you want to happen is data loss when travelling or on holiday. Regularly back up your data to a cloud storage service to minimise data loss, including once-in-a-lifetime family photos. Consider using both physical backups (like an external hard drive) and cloud storage to ensure you have multiple copies of your important data. If your devices get stolen, you can access data from the cloud.

  1. Educate Yourself on Cyber Security

Staying informed about the latest cyber security best practices is essential for protecting yourself while travelling. Educate yourself on common threats and trends through news articles or cyber security training for businesses—a short yet interactive course designed to target a user’s weakness. With 82% of data breaches caused by human error, ensuring employees are aware of cyber security scams is vital. Check out our cyber security training

Staying informed about the latest cyber security best practices is essential in protecting yourself while travelling or on holiday. To stay updated on new threats and protective measures, subscribe or regularly check reputable cyber security blogs and news sources, such as Excellence IT. Educate yourself on common threats and trends through news articles or cyber security training for businesses.

You can sign up for a 14-day free trial here.

Conclusion 

We hope these 10 cyber security travel tips are helpful and aid you during your travels. For any Cyber Security enquiries, contact us in the submit a form section below.

Email: info@excellence-it.co.uk

Tel: 02920887362

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